“Word of Mouth” Wins For Job Seekers
You’ve probably experienced this scenario during job hunting: you apply for jobs online through the company’s site, attach your resume, cover letter, or even a sample of your previous work, only to never hear anything back from them. It might be that they never got your resume or that you were cut from their selective ATS despite being a qualified candidate. Even if you’re able to get past the online hiring barriers, employers continue to be selective by trying to answer “What type of employee will the applicant be?”.
This hiring issue was raised by Adam Cobb, professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He claims, in this article, that the best way to land a job now is the same way it was done before the use of the Internet – by word of mouth. The ease of applying online has saturated companies with hundreds of resumes for just one position, making it difficult for candidates to prove themselves worthy of consideration. Job seekers need to have an edge to stand out among the competition while showing that they are the type of worker the company needs.
Despite its few disadvantages, there’s no avoiding using technology in your job search. However, what Cobb is suggesting is that you don’t have to rely on it entirely. By doing so, it opens up opportunities for you to get personalized referrals or recommendations that add
more credibility to your candidacy. So how do you meet the right people to get those word of mouth referrals for jobs? Here’s where to start:
Make a list. It all begins with your network. Before targeting new connections, assess which ones you already know. They can be grouped into several categories: friends, family, former coworkers, old classmates, and colleagues. You’ll begin to see your network is already bigger than you think. Even if you think these connections aren’t relevant to your job search, include them. Each person in your network has their own extensive network and it only takes reaching out to one person beyond your immediate connections for something good to happen.
Meet New Connections. Your network is present, but it needs to keep expanding to match where you want to be. Meeting people who reflect your interests and goals is essential because they’ll have access to jobs that fit your criteria. Attending meetings, mixers, conferences, or workshops are great ways to expand your network outward.
Be Yourself. When interacting with your network, being your authentic self will yield the best results. First, your connections can easily spot if you’re being insincere and trying to be something you’re not, prompting them to lessen interactions with you. Second, it will make it easier for connections to get to know you better, which is especially useful when you ask them if they could provide you with a referral. They will feel much more comfortable doing so when they know exactly who you are.
Getting word of mouth recommendations for the job search doesn’t involve schmoozing up to people. Reach out to who you know, expand your career connections to where you want to go, and be yourself throughout networking. Applying online through a personal connection for the job at hand gives employers a stronger sense about the employee you can be.